Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Democracy of Hypocrisy is killing me!

Jeffrey Gettleman's article called War in Sudan? Not Where the Oil Wealth Flows and a year later, Rob Crilly's Boom belies Sudan’s pariah status have 2 things in common

1- They give the impression that the Sudanese living in Sudan and most specifically Khartoum don't give a damn about Darfur and the plight of Darfurians while the whole world is campaigning, protesting and generously donating thousands of dollars.

2- The US-sponsored international sanctions on Sudan are not doing much so (the international community might as well increase the sanctions or ban all companies from doing business in Sudan).

Why the sanctions are not cool

First of all, increasing the sanctions on Sudan are not going to make the Sudanese government "surrender" and stop killing innocent civilians. In the 1990's, when Sudan didn't export any oil, they still managed to fund the holy war on the "kuffar". There are many generous donors who supported our government for many years. Currently, things are different. We export oil. Our economy grows about 10% every year making it one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa. Sudan is a popular investment destination. New hotels are being built every day( The manager of Rotana hotel said that another one is being built).
The development ,economic improvement and investments are benefiting the people more than the government because they are creating new employment opportunities( we desperately needed that!)
Isn't it a good thing?

Three years ago, we only had a couple of small boring channels and of course the disappointing Sudan tv. Now there are at least 3 new channels promoting investment in Sudan and creating a very attractive image of the " New Sudan" or at least this is what they call it.

Not to mention the availability of all kinds of goods in supermarkets, cafes and even international brands such as Espirit.

Oil and self-interest

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that in the next 50 years, oil will be very precious.
John Ghazvinian(author of untapped: the scramble for Africa's oil) pointed out that oil will make Africa the new Middle East, the new Saudi Arabia.
If you read Untapped: The scramble for Africa's oil, you are going to know that the US, other western powers and China are very very interested in oil-producing African countries. The US is serious about stabilizing the gulf of guinea region to guarantee a steady oil supply. The Middle East is on fire now while Africa is cooling down.

Although the civil societies in Japan (just an example) are concerned about the innocent civilians dying in Darfur , the Japanese government wants more oil from Sudan now (they just signed an agreement).
If the government of Equatorial guinea is a dictatorship then why is America its number one costumer when it comes to oil exports?
Self-interest is important however, oil is more important. Countries are willing to pay alot of money to get oil, secure and stabilize the region they get their oil from and most importantly, overlook brutal governments and human rights abuses for it.

Why are Sudanese living in Khartoum portrayed in this negative way?

The title of Gettleman's article really irritated me. His article starts with a picture and this is written below it "As one of the world’s worst atrocities unfolds in Darfur, some 600 miles to the west, young women enjoy the good life at the Ozone Café in Khartoum, including ice cream and outdoor air-conditioning".
A couple of young girls are having a nice time at the Ozone Did you even ask them how they feel about Darfur?
Last time I checked, many Sudanese people wanted Darfur to stop and wanted the displaced people to go home. My neighbours back home rented their house to an organization aiming at helping Darfurians in Khartoum etc..
I really don't think people in Khartoum should stay home and be depressed. Speaking of depression, I really think we spent most of the 1990's being depressed.
I'm glad people in different parts of this world are concerned about Darfur (although I find it funny how many people always say we were silent when Rwanda happened ,let's stop Darfur..feeling guilty are we now?)

Funny thing

It's funny how a year after Gettleman's article was published, another journalist called Rob Crilly travelled to Khartoum to write about the same issue!
Seriously, both journalists failed to point out something very important..actually, this is my own personal observation:S
China can give Sudan all the money in the world and Sudan can become one of the largest oil-exporters in the world but this doesn't make China or any other country buying oil from Sudan or engaging in a mutually-beneficial relationship with Sudan a "bad" country. Why do people care about the money China gives to Sudan for its oil? Why do they keep calling china's Olympics "genocide Olympics"? Why are other western and eastern countries banned when they try to invest in Sudan?
I said it! Yes! loud and clear.
It's really not China's problem that Beshbesh's government is using it's money to buy arms and train its soldiers.

I'm glad Khartoum is booming or whatever.... however, I'm hating the democracy of hypocrisy in this world.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stay tuned- A24

ok, this was my idea but hey, I'm glad it was done for Africa by an African.

Next year, A24, a pan -african news channel will start broadcasting from Kenya, East Africa.
It's like Al-Jazeera, a pan-arab channel however, A 24 is for Africans, by Africans.

Finally, we Africans will start voicing out our thoughts about what's happening in our continent.

Here is a quote from the Kenyan journalist and founder, Salem Amin:

Salim Amin wrote in an article: "We are different in each corner of Africa; we have different histories, cultures and many different languages. But we need to talk to each other, we need to understand all these differences, we need to share our successes, and jointly fight our problems and failures - many of which are similar - HIV, malaria, corruption, poverty, human rights and education."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Great news from "White African"

Hash at the White African posted about this competition.

"If you run an NGO, or know someone who does, you’ll be excited to hear about nGOmobile. It’s a new initiative from Ken Banks of to help NGOs leapfrog the barriers to getting started using text messaging. You need to be operating a small to medium sized NGO in a developing nation to enter the competition.
How it worksFirst, take a look at the website. Next, you submit a short project description. The top 4 will be awarded everything you need to set up and manage your very own text-messaging project:
A brand new HP Pavilion laptop computer - To help you run your messaging campaign from anywhere you choose
A GSM modem - Send messages through the mobile network without the need for the Internet
Office software - Word processing, spreadsheets, email - everything to help you run your project more efficiently
A top-of-the-range Nokia mobile phone (or two) - A couple of cool Nokia phones to help you take photos and videos (and talk!)
FrontlineSMS -FrontlineSMS is a great piece of software allowing you to run your very own text-messaging campaign from a laptop or desktop computer.
$1,000 in cash "

I believe this competition is very motivating!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Random Though- Why don't we chip in?

The UN announced that it will need nearly $2 billion dollars to fund it's humanitarian,development and peace projects in Darfur. I read somewhere that America will pay for 25% of this money.
America donating money to Darfur? Why? Really, why?
Rumour has it that Sudan makes about 9 billion dollars a year from oil exports. Since our government is not investing this money in useful things such as development projects/better health care facilities or even better education systems ...Why don't they fund the UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur? After all, they are in their country trying to protect their own civilians (from them?).
The United States will pull out of Iraq soon and they will need the money to rebuild the least I believe that instead of pouring money into Darfur, they should use this money to restore stability and rebuild Iraq.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Can't you tell she is smiling?

Muslim woman from the Sudan. I like this picture:)

UNICEF Seeks End to Genital Mutilation

Great news from All

The death of 2 girls d as a result of FGM this summer attracted even more international attention to this barbaric act.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dear Sudanese Bloggers

I've been told that we were mentioned in an Egyptian newspaper. The writer encouraged our writings and he also mentioned a few blogs he likes.
Dana Lost in translation
Ayman ElKheider
John Akec
Hashim Marbaji

I'm so happy 4 all of us wallahi!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Does anything good ever happen there?

This was her answer when my professor told her to ask me anything about Africa.

We were in America and a famous Jewish-American human rights activist/writer/professor invited us for lunch. We talked and talked about the middle east/Islam/immigration/human rights issues and when my professor suggested they ask me something about Africa because I'm from there and I know alot about my beloved continent. This is what she told me " Does anything good ever happen there?". I can't describe how I felt at the time because its too complicated. I'm not sure if I felt angry or sad. I think I felt both. I also felt her Afro-pessimism rub on me. I felt it clinging to my skin and as I tried reminding myself of the good things in my continent .I still couldn't recover to my old-self.

Then, I remembered something my mother told me 2 days before I travelled "always be proud of being African and always be proud of Africa".

Today in my cultures of Africa class, the professor asked us what is Africa?

As an African, I can't answer this question. I can give you an abstract definition but it's never good enough. What is Africa and what does it represent to us?
Is the brutal Africa where people are killed, women are raped, children are abducted and enslaved and societies are torn apart the same Africa I'm in love with?

If you ask yourself this question then you have to think about different African countries. Is it possible to do so? The Sudanese speak atleast 500 languages and they are divided into atleast 600 ethnic groups, can you tell me now what is Sudan? I can't tell you what is Sudan.

What is Sudan to you? Is it Darfur? Is it a brutal Islamic government on a mission to oppress and prosecute christians?

What is Zimbabwe to you? Is it a country so badly mismanaged , it went from being the breadbasket of Southern Africa to one of Africa's most needy countries?

Africa could mean poverty and war to you, some students said that in class. It's true but it's not the whole story. If you think of Africa this must be looking at 40% of the picture my friend!

Africa is not darfur,rwanda, dictatorships,underdevelopment or even AIDS. If I was asked what Africa is, I will not be able to give a clear concrete answer. I will select some of the above,all of the above and other. Please don't ask me what this "other" is.

I always wondered what "expert on Africa" means. Many western newspapers will label a certian journalist or writer as "this man is an expert on Africa".

Can he answer this question" what is africa"? Can he give us all a concrete precise definition of the continent?

How does colonial/post-colonial/pre-colonial africa differ?

I used the encounter I had with the American lady because it meant so much to me. It really showed me how Africa is misunderstood by most people, even the educated ones who have the chance to travel and see the real Africa. I don't know what she meant by "good". The opening of a new hospital in Central Africa might be a good thing for Africans or for people in that region but will it count as a good thing ?

There are alot of overlooked small "good" things in Africa.

When it comes to female representation in parliament, Rwanda ranks number 1. I wonder if this achievement in Rwanda is "good".

Ghana remained one of the most peaceful countries in the world and the most peaceful in Africa although its neighbours are at war. Isn't Ghana a good example of a stable African country?

I don't know what's considered good in the western media or in America or in the world but if you stopped tinking about war/HIV/poverty/underdevelopment in Africa for exaxctly 10 minutes, you might actually give yourself a rare chance to see

something else. something great,something special...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Let's talk about Sandra.....

Beginning of the fall semester, yuppy!
I'm a junior now and although I was a freshman a few semesters ago, the first though that came to mind when I saw them today was "kids!". They are! Every semester, they keep getting younger,skinnier and shorter. Not to mention posher! Half of them were wearing designer jeans, skimpy tops and gucci/prada/louis vuitton bags.
Anyways, I was standing there talking to some friend when a noticed a familiar face. She was tall, slim and had the most-beautiful skin ever. I've met her last June during the world refugee day even held at university. Her name is Sandra and she is from South Sudan.

I walked up to her and started talking. She was shy, insecure and I could tell that she felt out of place. Mabye she was intimidated because she didn't know anyone or mabye she was worried she is not going to get the scholarship.
Not only is she extremely beautiful, she is also intelligent and will make all South Sudanese proud.
She is going to be something one day!
I hope she gets the scholarship.
Pray 4 her

Sudan returnee:- eh ra2yak fel 3roos di? she is really cute, I can hook u up!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Bob Marley told us to liberate Zimbabwe....Did we?

Let's face it
Our grandparents generation and our parents generation screwed up Africa...big time!
Just because I'm Sudanese doesn't mean that I care less about the sufferring in other African countries.

Recently, I've been asking myself- What is going on in Zimbabwe (Southern Africa's former Bread-Basket)?

when inflation is 400%
When life expectancy drops from 60 to 30 in just 15 years
When about half a million of a population of 13 million is homeless
When 20% of adults are HIV positive
When teachers can't afford the bus fare, they stop going to schools
When a bunch of people are forced to leave their homeland because of the color of their skin
When bread is a luxury
When human rights abuses are so bad, the country is facing severe international isolation
When a leader is immortal
When 25% of primary-school children drop-out of school in just 3 years
When educated women are forced to work as prostituties in neighbouring South Africa

Are we waiting for England to take action? Are Africans really uncapable of solving any problem at all?

Parts of Kizzie's diary: Where are you dear cousins? Chapter 2

Aunt:- I heard from some people that there are still training camps in Sudan, they brainwash young men before recruiting them, they tell them to leave their families and homes n join the jihad(holy war)
Kizzie:- what? This is horrible! I thought we are out of the terrorism thing
Aunt:- no, it makes's a very logical explanation, he is not the only one 7abebti, many young man dissapeared around the same time.

I left feeling even more confused. It made sense but how could they do that?

May 2006
I came back from university and my mother is crying.
My first reaction is :- Who died?
Mother:- s's son is gone. He left 3 days ago and they can't find him anywhere
Kizzie:- mother, he is probably at a friends house. He is not gone forever ya3ni!
Mother:- No, just like A's son...they keep dissapearing
Kizzie:- oh
A's son left 4 years ago and never came back.

This cousin of mine was actually my mother's 1st cousin(his father and her mother were siblings) but because my grandmother was old and she was married quite young, my mother's cousins are my age, a bit older or even younger.
He was 19, a university sophomore and very reserved.
Unlike my other cousins, he usually didn't come to our(my other cousin is a singer so we had many parties!) and I didn't see him much to be honest. I think he liked isolating himself!

About a year ago, he became a bit too religious( there is nothing wrong with being religious!) but when he started putting rules and forcing his sisters to abide by them, it started getting out of control.
The rules included:-
1-No TV
2-Arguing with them about the way they dress etc...
The mosque became the place where he spent most of his time and not only that, he also started isolating himself from other people.

What did his family do about it?
You are probably thinking "his dad should've noticed and did something about it". He only hectored him about the way he started treating his sisters and told him to mind his own business but nobody took some serious action.
Why is he spending so much time at some places?
Why did he change?
What's wrong with him?

His mother died of cancer when he was about 12 and his father was getting married a few weeks after he disappeared. Mabye he felt distanced from the rest of his family, mabye he missed his mother because she was the only person who listened to him, mabye he was just frustrated with life and felt that even if he graduated- not only graduates in Sudan find jobs.

I'm a bit uncomfortable using the term disappeared with this cousin because he just walked out completely aware of what he is getting himself into. He was brainwashed ,lectured and prepared for this day, the day he left.

I'm not going to blame him because it's not his fault. He was probably too galluable or just happy he found a bunch of people who supposedly cared about him and listened to his frustrations.
Why couldn't he be close to other cousins or family members?
How come we didn't noticethat he alienated himself before it was too late?

Alot of questions, almost no answers.

I'm just really angry because he had a long life ahead of him, his creativity and his contribution to his country , to his family and to the entire world is lost and his family can'tforget him but they also can't forgive him.
I'm angry because young men like my cousin where easy targets. They were deceived . Their life isn't worth anything to the people who talked them into being martyrs.
Is this what god wanted him to do? - Leave his family and runaway to a world full of hatred and criminal activity.
He is gone and I personally don't believe he is ever going back.
It was shocking in the begining then it was sad, now, he is only a memory.
He could be dead or planning the death of someone.
He could be sitting somewhere in this world regretting his decision or he could be happy because he thinks he is doing the right thing.

I don't know.
I don't think I want to know.

Where are you dear cousins? Afghanistan? Sudan?Iraq?Pakistan?Egypt?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Parts of Kizzie's diary:- Where are you dear cousins?

July 2003-

3 days after my uncle's wedding.

We ae still celebrating and I still didn't wear half of the dresses I purchased for this wedding.

My mother walks in, she looks concerned and exhausted.

Mother:- He is gone, her son just disappeared. They can't find him anywhere.
Kizzie:- Who are you talking about? Who disappeared?
Mother:- you know my mother's cousin called today and she said her son just walked out and didn't come's been 2 days. You know her..Her name is A, she is B's sister.
Kizzie:- ok...calm down..did I ever meet him? god mother! your family is sooo large, I have like 1 trillion cousins.
Mother:- They said they looked for him everywhere, his dad is still looking but they can't find him....dress up, we are going to her place right now
Kizzie:- mother, they just can't look for him everywhere, they should tell the police..I know they are useless but you never know. Did they contact his friends?
Mother:- they did, I have a feeling there is a story behind this....dress up..

We visit his family... his mother looks 60(she was in her early 40's) and his dad is still driving around Khartoum looking for him n everybody is depressed.

Kizzie to her sister:- God, they should stop this crap...the guy is not dead yet!
My aunt:- well if he was dead, it was going to be way least they know he is dead! Now, we don't know if he is dead or alive.

I walked over to his mother and told her *He is going to come back * and asked for his picture. She went inside and came back with a passport picture. He looked my age.
When she asked me how old I am, I found out he is my age.

July 2005:-
It's been two years.

God, please make him come back. We could've started university together. We could've been really good friends. I don't' know. I don't know. I just wish I had the chance to get to know him better.

Relative:- so ..did A' Son come back yet?
Kizzie:- No, it's been two years. Everybody looked for him. My cousins drove around Khartoum looking for him. We did everything.
Relative:- I don't think he is still in Sudan...I'm sure they trained him in Sudan but he is abroad now
Kizzie:- what? where did he travel? what training? khalto S. what are you talking about?

To be continued

ps:- Thanks for inspiring me SudanReturnee:)

Get-together with the hommies

God bless him!

I really like this picture!
The Sudan went through alot in the last couple of years and seriously,....our president really needed a break!
He just needed this nice little get-together party with the hommiez!(or whatever)
When most of your people are living in miserable must be really strong to be able to put a smile on your face.
PS:- Thanks for the amazing picture Dana at